Posts Tagged ‘Le Pulp’

Markus Chaak

by Whitney Weiss


Markus Chaak is a huge part of a more diverse and sincerely underground queer scene in Paris, which sometimes gets overshadowed by other shinier more circuity mainstream lesbian parties. Whether it’s a residency at radical queer bar La Mutinerie or headlining the super-fun Fukthename parties (put on by an eponymous feminist collective), Markus consistently turns it with afrobeat and house music. Ahead of her UK debut at cult queer smash hit Patsy, we talked about formative gay clubbing at Le Pulp, where to go out in Paris, and Soul Train.

Markus! We’re super excited to have you at PATSY. Is this your first time playing in London? What have you heard about PATSY?

Hey! I’ve been to London for Pride, just to chill, but yes, this is the first time I’ll come as a DJ! I’ve heard Patsy is the famous queer party, it happens in London and Paris right now and it’s not so often that a queer party is exported, so I am very proud to take part in it. 

You’re based in Paris, where you’re involved with a party called Fukthename. Tell us the story behind the party (the name, the crowd, the mission, etc.)

Fukthename is a feminist collective created in 2011 that organises mixed parties and events that prioritise female artists in music, dance, and all other artistic forms. We like to align with associations and projects that share a common vision to help them collect funds/give them visibility. We want to try to open spaces to a minority that’s often underrepresented or silenced. Now we’re working with the Playnight collective to organise La PrudePride party, which will be the party to go to before the Pride march in Paris. We also have other surprises in store for 2017/2018!

What was your first gay/queer clubbing experience like?

My first lesbian parties were Le Privilege, a club that was under Le Palace, then also Le Pulp, which was around the corner! We danced to house and techno until the sun came up. It was awesome because at that point we weren’t fully out and about as lesbians all of the time. We also used to lie to our friends and parents and go out discreetly to Les Scandaleuses bar to be able to start our nights and have fun. Now, I get to go out to my own parties! 

Where and how did you get your start DJing?

I started DJing in 2011 for the collective FolEffet, who organised militant actions and events. At the beginning, just for fun, we DJed back to back together without any kind of preparation! Then I started DJing solo as Markus, and played places like Acte3 and Le Troisième Lieu. Now, I’m a regular at La Mutinerie Bar, Playnight, and DRH.

How would you describe the queer scene in Paris? Any particular spots/parties you recommend for an unforgettable evening?

Clubbing exclusively for women is not so great. There aren’t a lot of bars or spaces or regular parties, so finding good places is difficult. Now it’s time to remake this scene (editor’s note: we very much agree!) More and more mixed places and parties are opening, which fortunately offer new alternatives for LGBT nightlife. 

What are three records that never leave your record bag (or USB stick, or Traktor playlist?)

There’s always a song by Boddhi Satva, like Sweet Brown Sugar, Ethyene – Sound of Freenidad, and Fatnotronic – Botoque.

You’re headlining in the laser basement – what sort of a set can dancers expect?

I’m expecting a very diverse crowd that’s ready to have fun and also has eclectic taste, so it’s going to be an interesting (and fun) challenge! I’ll wait to be there and feel the energy to figure out what to play. Get ready to shake your ass!

What’s the last book you read and the last movie you watched?

The last film was A Fantastic Woman and I’m currently reading Battling Siki.

If you had a time machine and could visit any dance floor past, present, or future, where would you be going?

I’d go back to the 1970s and 1980s and head immediately for Soul Train! Then I’d go disco, funk, and hip-hop clubbing in New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

What is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever witnessed from the DJ booth?

One time I was DJing on a boat and finishing my set. The next DJ was ready, everything connected and plugged in. He put his headphones on, smiled, put his hands up, started dancing and screaming joyfully except…he didn’t have a sound in the room (only in his headphones) because he’d forgotten to put the volume on for his track. It was very funny, this moment of euphoria in solitude!


Catch Markus Chaak at Patsy on Friday 18 August from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!

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Axelle Roch

Homodrop, a brand new homo electro night, makes its Dalston Superstore debut next weekend, with special guest Axelle Roch visiting from Paris. Joining her will be Greg Lowe, Greg Spencer, Bamboo Hermann and TWANG over both floors of Superstore. To find out more about this French babe, we caught up with Axelle ahead of the party to quiz her on techno in her city, LGBT rights in France, and some French language tips to use at queer nights…

What are your highlights of the Parisian dance music scene- where do you go dancing when you are not DJing?

I don’t go out often, so when I party don’t really have a special place I love. I look who is playing… But if I have to choose, I prefer ephemeral/transient places like warehouses. I have been going out clubbing for a long time, so now when I go out, I’m looking for something different than my own experience.

Who or what is the Fox Parisian Crew?

Fox Parisian Crew is a collective and for three years we’ve organised parties at Batofar Club. We’re passionate DJs. Now our party is also in Lyon. We booked a lot of headliners…

We have a simple concept: Beer & Techno! Haha!

How welcoming is Paris to LGBT people?

Since gay marriage has been approved in France, we’ve seen and experienced a lot of trouble. Riots, especially in Paris. LGBT people just want to have the same rights as heterosexuals: marriage, children, and so on… It’s a long way to open mindedness for some people. I think it’s like that everywhere. Gay people are welcomed by some, and not for others… I heard that in Montpellier a gay flag is flying on an official building, at the same time at the place where first gay marriage has been celebrated… so, I take this like a hope. 

Who are your techno heroes?

I love Audiofly, Tini, Villalobos… I think there’s a new generation of very good DJs. I especially love music from Fuse London Label. Seb Zito is also amazing! Jessica Diaz too, she’s from Argentina, she’s great. Recently  I discovered Dana Ruh on Brouqade Label, woos! I mean, her music is exactly what I’m looking for actually. Also music from Romania, minimal, very class..  yes I have to admit it, women are very good DJs and producers, their music has more soul, it really talks to me.

When we spoke to Jennifer Cardini earlier this year she told us all about Le Pulp and the birth of Paris’ (more open) lesbian scene… how would you describe it now?

I think people are now trying to be together. Whatever your sexuality or sexual orientation… I mean we don’t care if the music is good, as long as the vibe is good; all people share the same vibe. Love and dance… for me it’s exactly that sensation I am looking for. A community of dancers… 

But I know that a place like Pulp did a lot of good for lesbian community. A lot of straight people think: Oh! A lesbian party cannot mean good music or good vibe! Hahah you know?!  But I was too young during the ”Pulp” period. I’ve been there just one time. 

If you had a time machine and could visit any dancefloor anywhere/anywhen where would you want to go dancing?

I think I’d explore every decade, the ’60s, ’70s ’80s, the new wave scene, the punk scene, even rock ‘n roll! Also I’d have to swing by Studio 54 in NYC… and why not explore the future in 150 years? 

Can you teach us some essential French for going out in Paris to queer nights and dance clubs…?

“C’est Fat!”, “Ca envoie du Lourd!”, “Je suis saucée!”

It’s Fat! It’s heavy! I’m like a salsa! 

What record in your collection would surprise people to learn that you love?

Brouqade Label, and music from Romania. I love Romanian underground resistance. It’s groovy deepy and sexy!

Who are your top underrated French DJs?

Easy… David Guetta, Bob Sinclair, ect…. 

What’s the biggest misconception about techno in Paris that outsiders have?

The Parisian scene is really rising up… we have something like a subdivision ministry dedicated to the Parisian nightlife… Our mayor Mme Hidalgo writes letters to congratulate some Parisian clubs, when they are rated Top 10 in international magazines, for example Badaboum. I honestly think it’s so cool and encouraging! 

Join Axelle for Homodrop on Saturday 22nd November at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Photo Credit: Chill Okubo

Jennifer Cardini

Hailing from the south of France, Jennifer Cardini forged her reputation with residencies at Rex Club and famed lesbian club Le Pulp, ultimately going on to set up her successful Correspondant label to release both her own records and fresh new ones from around the world. Ahead of the party we caught up with her to talk about techno, love and Parisian lesbians…

What drew you to Paris in the late ’90s?

Friendship did. I met a girl who was also a DJ called Sex Toy during a radio interview I did for the release of my first ever record. After the interview we started to talk and became good friends. We started a band called Pussy Killers, which was one of the first DJ combo bands. We wanted to do something a bit different. Being fans of David Bowie and Rocky Horror Picture Show, we wanted to bring this rock-glam-humour into techno, because at this moment everyone was so serious, wearing label tshirts and stuff like that. So we started this and we wore Mexican wrestler masks, arriving on stage with a big ghetto blaster that played recordings of my dog barking, and playing Nirvana, AC/DC or Iron Maiden in the middle of our DJ set. It was a mixture of everything we grew up with, that superhero attitude.

She was the one who introduced me to the people from Le Pulp. I played there and they asked me to become a resident. So I said yes and just moved. Also Sex Toy and I wanted to make music together so it made more sense to be in Paris… I’m from the south of France and it’s not the most exciting region when you are young! It’s very nice now that I am a bit older- to go to the beach and stuff- but when I was in my 20s I was bored to death there.

So I came to Paris, which was really amazing, it was super exciting, so many things to do and people to know. So friendship brought me [to Paris]. But actually, I was already playing Rex Club and when I told them I planned on moving they offered me a residency. It was difficult to say no. I came here already having the two residencies, and for me they were the two best clubs at the time in Paris.

DJ Sex Toy was quite an influence presence in Paris?

She was an icon. Now there are two movies about her as she passed away 10-12 years ago. She was the kind of person who had 10 ideas every second… which could be very tiring! But she had this amazing energy and very creative. She had the craziness that I was too shy to have at that time. So we were a good combo- I was the more serious techno-freak and she was more the crazy creative person. She was always able to find crazy clothes to wear and be avant-garde-everything. Anything she wore, everyone else at Le Pulp would start wearing as well. She was this model for a lot of lesbians.

DJ Sex Toy

You were name-checked in RA’s article “The Alternate History Of Sexuality In Clubbing” as one of the most prominent DJs to come out of the Parisian lesbian club scene- other than Sex Toy, who were YOUR favourite DJs from that time?

Well, Ivan [Smagghe] was for sure. He was resident at the Kill The DJ’s parties. And Chloé of course.

Umm Le Pulp was really nice because it was small and dirty and crappy with the worst sound system ever! But we got everyone to play there, y’know. And it was also the time that everyone started touring outside of their own country and all the German DJs were really into the idea of coming to Paris to play and everybody was sleeping at our place, and we’d cook for them because we had absolutely no budget whatsoever. Which meant I got the chance to see a lot of amazing DJs play at Pulp. For example Michael Mayer, and we got to play back to back at this time. He is for sure one of my favourite DJs as he is a real storyteller. Just like Koze. He was another favourite DJ of mine at this time. I remember we booked him for Nouveau Casino and he started his set with Johnny Cash and it was just fantastic.

Even now, Koze, Michael Mayer, Ivan… and Andrew Weatherall are amongst my favourite DJs. Also I really love Ata from Robert Johnson. Because these DJs can take you everywhere.

Roman Flügel is another I like a lot as he is always on the verge of experimental and dance so it’s always very interesting and with a lot of elegance. Roman is a very elegant DJ for me. Very smart in his choices and how he builds things up.

What made that time in Paris so special that people still want to talk about it today?

Probably the fact that a lot of DJs came out of that time, Ivan and Chloé and me, we all started there. And also the fact that it was a lesbian club! That was pretty unconventional because the nightlife was ruled by the techno clubs or by huge gay parties. At the time Le Pulp started there was no place for queer subculture. Gays had gone really mainstream in the big clubs where you had thousands of boys dancing to commercial house music. So what made it special is that it was the place of a “first time” for a lot of people.

Le Pulp 

It was also a bit punk and a bit dirty. We just did whatever we wanted in there. There was no dress code. The entrance was free. And it was a lesbian club where boys were allowed if they behaved well. They would come with girls and everybody was really respectful. There were no social differences. You had hipsters. And you also had homeless people and from the suburbs.

Homeless people?

Yeah. I read an interview with Ivan and I remembered that sometimes when it was really cold we would let people from the street get in the club so they wouldn’t freeze to death. It was really like this err…

Community?

Yeah! And that’s something that has tended to disappear a little bit with the high fees that are charged for entrance. It leaves a lot of people outside y’know.

It was more mixed. Sometimes you had people from everywhere. We had Björk coming and people staring at her like she was an alien.

Do you think that women, queer or otherwise, in techno prefer to play at queer parties or venues?

I don’t know. I mean for me, I really like to play at lesbian parties! I know that promoters like Barbi(e) Turrix for example, which is the main lesbian party at the moment, they really like to book female artists. But I think it’s also very political. It’s a response to the fact that a lot of the festivals don’t book women sometimes. You can see lineups with no women at all! It’s like ‘ey!

But I don’t know. I can’t answer. I like to play good parties.

But you also play gay parties for guys as well as for girls, no?

I try to choose parties more according to the venue and the promoter. If I can see that the guy or the girl  making the party really loves music and is passionate, and you feel that by looking at the poster, you can see easily what the target is. If the target is “okay I am gonna make a lot of money” or the target is “okay I am gonna make money because obviously you are working for it, but on the human point I want the party to be great with a nice atmosphere”. You can feel this.


Jennifer Cardini – “Venom” (Official Video) by CorrespondantRecords

Your label Correspondant has been going from strength to strength- what should we be looking out for on it?

Actually right now I have a little fetish with the Mexican scene haha! We are gonna release records from a guy called Max Jones in September.

And you have Zombies in Miami too…

Yeah. The Mexican scene is extremely rich, very good producers who have one foot in more like rock music and one foot in raw dance music… and there is also a kind of humour to the music. It’s very heavy. And very sexy. I really like that.

But people that don’t know the label should listen to the compilations. They’re good snapshots of what we like to do. The diversity and range we like to go through. From techno to down-tempo stuff.

One of the best tracks from the last compilation is The Aspodells [Andrew Weatherall and Timothy J Fairplay]. It’s so beautiful. I would recommend that and also the fantastic André Bratten called Trommer og Bass. I still play it and have been for one year now. It’s a huge track. It’s gonna be on Erol Alkan’s Fabric CD.

Your own latest EP with Shaw references Paris Is Burning with tracks In The Ballroom and Pepper LaBeija- why do you think the documentary is still such a rich source material after all these years?

Because it’s still very modern, very relevant, it’s still very hard for a lot of gay kids to live their sexuality with freedom. For example, in the movie you see that kids were thrown out from their house, and rejected by their family. I think it is even Pepper LaBeija who says that when his mom found out he was wearing women’s clothing, she burned all of them.

Pepper LaBeija

We live in big cities and we don’t always realise all this, because we are in a social environment that makes us think that it’s easy to be gay, but I don’t think it is. I don’t believe that it’s like that for a kid that lives in a little city- he still gets the finger pointed at him. Even if we make progress it’s still not so easy to grow up knowing you are gay and to be happy with it.

I saw the film for the first time two years ago, just before going into the studio with David [Shaw]. I’d heard about the movie, but I’d never watched it, and my girlfriend showed it to me and I was really moved by those kids.

The film is also really relevant of the difficulties of going from one social class to another. In the movie some of the kids are dressing up like upper-middle-class or trailer or one is even dressing like an airline pilot. So you really have this feeling that by dressing up and by going to those ballrooms they are trying to climb a social ladder that in reality would be much harder for them to climb. With their background from living on the streets, it’s much harder for them to break the social differences. This moved me because I think it’s still the case. It’s still very hard to go from one social level to another.

What keeps you in Cologne?

This one is easy! Love does. I’ve lived here with my girlfriend for the last three years. I wanted to change my life a little bit. I’ve got 20 years of nightlife behind me and I just wanted to start the label and start to make music again. I’ve had this project with David [Shaw] and I’m travelling so much I just wanted to find a place that was a little bit more stress-free and laid back than Paris. Paris can be really tough! It’s still my favourite city and I’m totally in love with it. It’s so beautiful and every time I go there I’m like “wow”. But I wouldn’t like to live there anymore. I do miss my friends though.

Jennifer Cardini

The quality of life here [in Cologne], and the quietness in the week are really part of my stability right now and that’s something I don’t want to break.

What are your friends in Paris doing? What exciting projects, nights, things you wish you were part of?

I’m still friends with all the people from Le Pulp. That’s nearly 20 years of friendship.

And I do miss the queer scene in Paris! The queer scene in Cologne is very underground haha, I haven’t really found it yet! But in Paris it’s really good right now. Without pretention, I can really feel how much my generation gave more freedom to the new lesbian generation. Because we broke free from something.

We were like “’ey! We are here!” Before Le Pulp, I have the feeling the lesbian scene was very underground in Paris. Like, it was always very confidential.

I can feel it now with big parties like Barbi(e) Turrix where you have like 1000 girls dancing to really underground techno music and that is just amazing. And that is because of Pulp. And this is still something unique. Everywhere I go there is rarely 1000 women dancing.

To good music?

I am not gonna say “this is good music” or “this is bad music”. But, they are dancing. To music that we play. And that’s quite crazy for the lesbian scene! And that is really because of Pulp. And of us fighting to not become mainstream and keep our craziness a little bit.

 

And what do you plan to treat our basement for lesbians and their gay boyfriends to?

Ahhh, I don’t know! I’m still thinking about it! But I like to play all kinds of stuff so I’ll chose records, and then I’m there, and we see how it goes. It’s like a deal y’know, the energy I get from them and the energy I get back. It’s like going on a trip. All I can do is bring good music and then we see what we do about it. 

Join Jennifer Cardini this Friday 11th December from 9pm – 3am for Lazertitz at Dalston Superstore.